Antiques store opens at Shepard Farm

The Enterprise — Noah Zweifel

A hanging fireplace on display at Vintage, Treasures and Home.

WESTERLO — An antiques store has opened at Shepard Farm, and is the first shop on the old resort property that owner John Dolce hopes to turn into a commercial hub. 

The antiques store, Vintage, Treasures, and Home, is owned by Bonnie Kohl-Laub and Ray Carucci; he ran the now-closed Chipped, Tarnished, and Torn, another antiques store in the rural town. 

Vintage, Treasure, and Home is similar to Carucci’s old store — it’s the “grown-up version,” Kohl-Laub told The Enterprise this week — and sells wares that are more carefully selected and meet a higher standard for display than is typically found in other antiques stores. 

And, because the shop occupies what is essentially a warehouse, it allows for larger items, such as two giant vases from China that stand far taller than any person, and a hanging fireplace that looks like a modern art piece. 

Kohl-Laub said that she’s the one who seeks out the merchandise, while Carucci, who she says has a preternatural intrigue with people, sells it. 

“Customers will come in and say, ‘Where’s Ray?’” Kohl-Laub said, to illustrate people’s attachment to Carucci. “I told him that I’m going to wear a sign that says, ‘I’m Ray.’”

Their business is notable in that it’s among the first at Shepard Farm that fits into a notion of a walkable shopping area in the rural Hilltown, where small shops and restaurants tend to struggle. There are a handful of businesses there currently, such as a spa and an appraiser, Carucci said, but Vintage, Treasures, and Home is the only one that primarily sells goods rather than services. 

Shepard Farm was a Catskills resort in the mid-20th century, when what was known as the Borscht Belt was a popular destination and breeding ground for high-profile entertainers. However, the resort closed in the 1980s, and the buildings there fell into disrepair; Dolce, the supervisor of neighboring Rensselaerville and an entrepreneur, managed to buy the 190-acre property for just $150,000. 

When The Enterprise interviewed him in 2018, shortly after he made the purchase, Dolce pitched his vision for the property as a civic good: a local business hub that would let Hilltowners work close to home, and put Westerlo on the map, at least regionally. 

While businesses have opened there, and certainly provide some number of people the opportunity to make a living on the Hill, the property has yet to become any kind of cultural beacon. In fact, it’s arguably best known now for being the home of two solar fields, which are rather unpopular for their perceived ugliness.

But, with Vintage, Treasures, and Home, the potential is visible. 

Kohl-Laub said she was very pleased with how easy it was to get the store off the ground, at least from a bureaucratic perspective. She was required to go before the Westerlo Planning Board to get approval, which was handled in just two meetings, she said. All other obstacles were similarly easy to overcome.

“A lot of people said ‘yes,’” she said. 


More Hilltowns News

  • Nadia Raza has decided to close Joe’s Tavern, opting out of the property’s rent-to-own contract amid a cancer battle. However, she plans on reopening the much beloved Curry Patta wherever she can find a location. 

  • In a letter to the Westerlo Town Board this week, the town’s planning board chairman, Beau Loendorf, requested that the planning board be allowed oversight of the new firehouse project sought by the local volunteer fire department, which is believed to be immune to local zoning. 

  • Westerlo Supervisor Matt Kryzak is unhappy that the headquarters of the Westerlo Rescue Squad, which ceased operations at the end of 2019 but hasn’t yet officially dissolved as an organization, is being used by its membership for storage of personal vehicles instead of something that could benefit the town. 

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